Dylan LeBlanc - Renegade - Albums - Reviews - Soundblab

Dylan LeBlanc - Renegade

by James Weiskittel Rating:9 Release Date:2019-06-07
Dylan LeBlanc - Renegade
Dylan LeBlanc - Renegade

After spending the past few years touring behind the critically acclaimed Cautionary Tale, Dylan LeBlanc returns with his fourth album, the stage-ready Renegade. But where Cautionary Tale saw LeBlanc further refining the tortured troubadour act, Renegade is a step in a bold new direction.

Augmenting the intimate, folk arrangements that characterized much of his earlier work, Renegade introduces a ‘live’ vibe by way of some pretty incredible performances. According to LeBlanc, much of the album was recorded live on the floor “mostly in one or two takes. Never more than three.”

Featuring a healthy dose of chiming guitars and a lock-tight rhythm section, the driving title track makes it clear from the start that LeBlanc is here to rock. “Born Again” finds the singer in full-on Springsteen-mode while “Bang, Bang, Bang” and “Damned” are as ferocious as anything LeBlanc has ever recorded.

While the front half of Renegade recalls the amped-up Americana of Tom Petty’s Damn The Torpedoes heyday, the back-side of the album features some of LeBlanc’s most effective balladeering to date. The haunting “Sand and Stone” creeps along like a shallow creek, “Lone Rider” could easily find a home on any of LeBlanc’s previous releases, and the album-closing “Honor Among Thieves”, bolstered by a superb orchestral arrangement, has set-closer written all over it.

By creating an album that boldly pushes the singer’s songs into new sonic territory, producer Dave Cobb (known for his work with Sturgill Simpson and Brandi Carlile) and LeBlanc have succeeded where many before have failed. Renegade not only plays to LeBlanc’s strengths as a singer and lyricist, but it also happens to feature his strongest collection of songs to date. From the heavy-to-pensive dynamic of the tracklisting to the lush, layered mix, the record is just a blast to listen to on every single level.

While Renegade might sound like a stark departure upon first listen, the fact is that LeBlanc’s transition from barstool warrior to arena-commanding frontman has been a decade in the making. If you are a long-time fan, you are in for a treat, and if this is the first time you’ve stumbled upon Dylan Leblanc’s music, then you're catching the artist at the top of his game.

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